Cebu archdiocese supports Dumaguete church in opposing reclamation project

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has issued a statement supporting the stand of the Diocese of Dumaguete on the 174-hectare reclamation project in the city capital of in the province of Negros Oriental, according to a post in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

Palma underscored that the local Catholic church is not against development. However, “there are parameters that we have to consider and work within too.”

“Development should have a human face… one that adheres to and primarily attends to the general welfare of the people first and foremost before anything else,” he said.

“Development cannot be undertaken to cater and benefit only a few. In fact, development should even be the price and pride of humanity, when their rights, dignity and wellness are respected and promoted,” the prelate added.

The statement was issued after Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete, which is one of the suffragan dioceses of the Cebu archdiocese, openly opposed the P23-billion reclamation project.

The project entails the construction of a “Smart City” along the coastline of Dumaguete City that would include amenities such as shopping malls, condominiums, hospitals, and sports hub.

Archbishop Palma acknowledged that the statement issued by Cortes  may be unpopular to some but the diocese has made a gallant stand on the issue at hand.

Meanwhile, the Order of Carmelites in the Philippines (O. Carm.) has also expressed its opposition to the project in a statement issued by Fr. Christian Buenafe, O. Carm., convener and International Commissioner of the Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation – Social Action Commission.

He quoted scientific studies and opinions of experts, who said that the city government’s project would have a detrimental effect to marine protected areas and consequently the tourism industry in Negros Oriental and Central Visayas.

“Development is good, but we pray that with this, we will not be destroying the future of our city who will now be denied of the fruits of the rich biodiverse marine life of the city’s coastline – the young Dumagueteños,” he said. — BAP, GMA News

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